What value do you put on the presence of the King? How much of your life both personal and church would carry on without Him? When was the last time you encountered Him? Heard from Him?
A Kingdom Culture is one that prioritises the Presence of the King. Jesus said, “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” This is not an individualistic promise, but a corporate one. What is added is Kingdom culture and blessing. But in order for that to happen we must seek the King and not the kingdom and it’s blessings as an end in itself, a mistake to easily made, a mistake that flows from thinking in a fallen way – what’s in it for me?
We must prioritise His Presence, be seekers of Him and those who encounter Him, after all Jesus never did anything except what he heard and saw the Father doing. It’s possible to go through all the motions of a church service/meeting, even charismatic ones, and have no expectation and never encounter God. We can sing songs about Him and what He’s done, we can even pray to Him and talk about Him, and yet never really encounter Him (the big danger for second and third generation Christians), we can even end up becoming passive observers. What expectation do you have when you gather with the saints, God’s holy ones? Is it just another meeting? A duty? A ritual? Are you just a watcher?
Probably the stand out person in scripture re seeking and knowing the Presence was King David. In the Psalms we see the depths of his longings and the heights of his encounters with the living God. God was dynamic reality to Him, the absolute delight of his soul. Encountering God was crucial to his very existence and service.
Stepping into the New testament we discover that the early church meetings were vividly alive with the presence of the King. He was there in their midst. The only explanation for the dynamic growth of the early church from very small beginnings is their pursuit of and realisation of the presence of the risen, all-conquering King. He wasn’t a distant object of belief, but a very present reality, living in them and walking among them.
If we are to seek the Presence of the King, we must prioritise Presence over procedure and professionalism. John Piper wrote a book “Brothers we are not Professionals”. The sad fact is it’s an easy mode to default to. We plan and prepare. We fill every minute we have. We pray for His blessing, ask for his will to be done, but do we listen, do we make space, can He break in and do what He wants? Yes, Paul says “let everything be done decently and in order,” but he didn’t intend that that should stifle the Presence and activity of the King, the head of the church.
One of the reasons we have revivals (and need revivals) in church history is because there has been the loss of something, a dying, a deadening. And every time a revival takes place it upsets the status quo, because suddenly God breaks in, the King has come! Meetings are not what they were, there’s an unpredictability, lives are disturbed, delivered, turned around, healed, set alight, communities changed.
Can we dare to imagine a scenario where we live in continuous revival? If so it means one where we prioritise and are continuously open to the Presence of the King and what he wants to do whenever we gather.